Overall Rating
Overall Rating (12 Reviews)
3.8
(12 Ratings)(12 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.2
SCENERY
3.9
PRODUCTION
4.2
SWAG
3.3
America’s Finest City Half Marathon is run on a fast, scenic, point-to-point course. The race starts at the historic Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma with its world-renowned vistas of San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, follows scenic San Diego Bay and Harbor Island along the … MORE
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Recent reviews

    RunKMacRun REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This is the third race in the triple crown series. Depending on where you are coming from it is also the farthest. Plan on staying the night near the race. … MORE

    This is the third race in the triple crown series. Depending on where you are coming from it is also the farthest. Plan on staying the night near the race. Shuttle bus takes you up to the start line.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    spifko FIRST-TIMER '19

    Most of the race is downhill, but beware the uphill for the last couple miles. Really nice run along the water in SD and finishing in Balboa Park. You need … MORE

    Most of the race is downhill, but beware the uphill for the last couple miles. Really nice run along the water in SD and finishing in Balboa Park. You need to take a shuttle to the start line. So expect to arrive earlier than other races.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    runwalksarah FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first time participating in America's Finest City Half Marathon and I highly enjoyed it. Packet pick-up was at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina Pavilion on … MORE

    This was my first time participating in America’s Finest City Half Marathon and I highly enjoyed it.

    Packet pick-up was at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina Pavilion on Friday from 12 pm – 6 pm and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm. Free parking was offered in a dirt lot next door to the hotel. The actual expo was in a large tent, rather than inside the hotel itself. My main complaint pertaining to the expo was that there were no bathrooms. Participants had to go inside the conference hall of the hotel and walk all the way to the end of the hallway. There were plenty of signs directing people to the expo, but there were absolutely no signs directing people to the bathroom. We hit the expo around noon on Saturday, but a few vendors were already packing up (I’m looking at you Waterloo Sparkling Water).

    If you can’t attend the expo, race morning packet pick-up was available near the finish line starting at 4 am for $20 (cash or card).

    On race morning, participants were instructed to catch a shuttle from one of two locations near the finish in Balboa Park to the start at the Cabrillo National Monument. The buses ran from 4:00 am – 5:15 am. Preferring to arrive to races early, I was on the very first bus. The bus ride from the finish to the start was approximately half an hour.

    There were plenty of porta-potties at the start, which is always a good thing.

    I really enjoyed the scenery during the race. In the early morning light and ocean view in the background, I found it relaxing running by the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. I liked running by the San Diego International Airport. I smiled when running by Waterfront Park, which happens to be the finish line of San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll. Not to mention, I loved finishing in Balboa Park. The weather was cool and overcast. It was a perfect day.

    There were a few small rolling hill at the start and then a nice big downhill. The course is then mostly flat until mile 11, when you begin a nice long climb uphill. Everyone warned me about the hill. Ultimately, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined it would be.

    The volunteers were fantastic. The aid stations offered water and Ultima. I did not see any gels or other fuel provided by the race. Run clubs and residents came out and offered tequila shots, mini-burgers and licorice.

    Upon crossing the finish, runners received a bottle of water and a paper bag containing a banana, RX Bar and a Kashi Bar. There was also a beer garden sponsored by Ballast Point Brewing Company. Participants could pick between a complimentary IPA and a lager.

    The medal was metal and featured a parrot. I was greeted by the sight of a few of these parrots as I walked back to my car.

    This was a solid San Diego race and I would absolutely run it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
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    50statesSandy FIRST-TIMER '18

    I traveled to this race from Idaho with my family and it was a great race to participate in. Balboa Park is one of my favorites and to run it … MORE

    I traveled to this race from Idaho with my family and it was a great race to participate in. Balboa Park is one of my favorites and to run it in an organized setting was wonderful. Because I had traveled from out of town and could not get my race bib until race morning it was very hectic. Parking is NOT close to race start and being from out of town I was only vaguely familiar with where everything was. I barely got my race bib on time. From start to finish – my 3.1 miles turned in 7 miles! The course was challenging for a slower runner with a couple of hills, but doable! I’d do this race again someday! Very well organized.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    Bettejh1 REPEAT RUNNER '12

    First, I ran alongside Oprah when I first ran this race. Pretty cool. This time I had a car accident the day before while waiting to turn left into the … MORE

    First, I ran alongside Oprah when I first ran this race. Pretty cool.
    This time I had a car accident the day before while waiting to turn left into the hotel parking lot where the Expo was. Another runner rear-ended me; the damage was so bad we had to get the car towed and rent a car for the weekend, which is tough when you are away from home.
    Anyway, I got about 2 hours sleep and ran it, although slowly.
    Overall the AFC is well organized and has a large turnout.
    Course: down hill the firs 3 miles, then flat, then uphill most of the last 2 miles. It can be very hot running along Harbor Drive. It is late morning by then and no shade. Think twice before you run under sprinklers offered in some of the neighborhoods….wet shoes and socks can mean blisters.
    The finish is in Balboa Park. I’ve run it a couple times and enjoyed it, even with the rear-end thing. I don’t like heat, so I probably wouldn’t run it again, but its kind of a “must do” if you live in So Cal.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    RunKMacRun FIRST-TIMER '18

    This is by far the most difficult of the 3 races in the series. Race day pick up is offered for and extra fee. Due to the logistics I would … MORE

    This is by far the most difficult of the 3 races in the series. Race day pick up is offered for and extra fee. Due to the logistics I would recommend staying the night in SD for this one. You hop on a bus and the finish line and they take you to the start. The last half of the race is all open with no shade cover so be sure to pack a hat or lots of sunscreen. The last two miles are pretty much uphill. This race was very challenging and has a very strict cut off time. If you do the Triple Crown series 3 times in a row you will also earn a Triple Triple Crown….Which I will be attempting 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    Starts at Point Loma and is mostly downhill for the first five miles. It's really beautiful running with the ocean on one side and San Diego Bay of the other. … MORE

    Starts at Point Loma and is mostly downhill for the first five miles. It’s really beautiful running with the ocean on one side and San Diego Bay of the other. The mid section through downtown was just so-so, but the finish was really cool as we charged up 6th Ave Hill into Balboa Park. Lovely point to point race, great support, beautiful shirt and medal.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Nicole Thome
    nthome REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This was my 2nd time at AFC, I ran it as my 5th half marathon a few years ago and again as my 29th half for the Triple Crown Series! … MORE

    This was my 2nd time at AFC, I ran it as my 5th half marathon a few years ago and again as my 29th half for the Triple Crown Series! Not much I can add from my review in ’13; this organization has been around awhile and they know how to put on a good race.

    The start at Cabrillo State Park is really nice (watch the sunrise and a sweeping view of the city) and the first 5 miles or so of this race are a breeze! Lots of gentle rollers and downhills. The middle section is still pretty blah (esp the airport parking lot) but downtown is nice. Since it’s middle of Aug, be prepared for it to start getting toasty mid-race and do go crazy those first five miles cause the last few miles of this race are challenging and the sun and humidity are usually out in full force by then. Conserve that energy! Overall, AFC is a very well organized race that I would recommend for experienced runners.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    ecrunner06 REPEAT RUNNER '07

    Great starting area, overall fun run. The last hill at mile 12 is rough, but worth it. Definitely worth doing at least once! There's a nice downhill for a couple … MORE

    Great starting area, overall fun run. The last hill at mile 12 is rough, but worth it. Definitely worth doing at least once! There’s a nice downhill for a couple miles in the middle, so make sure your knees are prepared for that.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    NorseSunRun REPEAT RUNNER '13

    This well organized run has a large group of runners which start at the Cabrillo State Park. Parking is easy if you are familiar with Balboa Park. Enjoy the sunrise … MORE

    This well organized run has a large group of runners which start at the Cabrillo State Park. Parking is easy if you are familiar with Balboa Park. Enjoy the sunrise and the view of downtown across the bay while warming up prior to the start. The first few miles are downhill and in cool weather but don’t get carried away. Acclimate to the heat properly if you want to enjoy this run.
    PROS- Nice course, good vibe, good water stations (I recommend training with and bringing your own water).
    CONS- Can be very HOT and Humid (Approx. 50/50 chance), Bring water and drink early if it’s hot,

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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    luther102 FIRST-TIMER '07

    Loved the experience in this half marathon. The course is flat/downhill except for 6th avenue at the end. The only thing that may turn off some runners is that this … MORE

    Loved the experience in this half marathon. The course is flat/downhill except for 6th avenue at the end. The only thing that may turn off some runners is that this is in August and it can get quite warm, be prepared! The event directors even cautioned us that we may not want to get a PR since the temperature was elevated at race time.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Nicole Thome
    nthome FIRST-TIMER '13

    This was my 5th half marathon and first in San Diego. Overall, I'm glad I ran this race! It was smaller than some of the bigger races (6,800 people vs … MORE

    This was my 5th half marathon and first in San Diego. Overall, I’m glad I ran this race! It was smaller than some of the bigger races (6,800 people vs 15,000+) so if you’re looking for a ‘smaller’ well-organized race, this is a good one. It’s also a bit more challenging with the ‘killer hill’ up 6th St at the very end (sick bastard who designed this course,ha!) but the first 5 miles are mostly downhill, really fast and very enjoyable as you run thru the neighborhood of Point Loma (great crowd support, thanks Point Loma!)

    The buses from Balboa Park to Cabrillo were on time and plentiful — the only way you could miss a bus is if you forgot to show up. Moderate traffic getting in (took shuttle from hotel) and out at the end of the race but — hey, show me a race that doesn’t have some traffic, right?

    The start area is large and there were plenty of stinky Port-o-Potties but … the start was downright weird. No indication whatsoever that the race actually started. I was just chilling, enjoying the pano view from the top of the point and was like “oh, guess it started???” I actually started 15 mins after gun time. No biggie, I rather liked being out of the traffic.

    As mentioned, first 5 miles are awesome! The middle of the race, miles 7 – 9, are kind of bleh. Running along Harbor Dr with the airport to the left and cars zooming by isn’t exactly fun or scenic. And yes, that awful detour thru the rental car parking lot. I’m sure they’ll have that figured out by next year so … I won’t hold that against this course (as an aside, I do wish their Website had better course maps). The last 4 miles thru downtown were filled with great support which especially helped on that last dreadful hill. 😉

    Seemed to be plenty of water stations; I really appreciated the ‘water mist’ areas along the way too (there were at least two — one at mile 8 and another around mile 10, I believe) and crowd support with water hoses. Apparently there was a lack of ultima drink stations but … I didn’t notice since I don’t drink stuff I don’t train with, anyway.

    The finish chute was longer/bigger than any I’ve seen — it’s huge. Definitely not an easy area to find people if you don’t have a plan so … if you plan on meeting friends at the end, designate a place ahead of time.

    Overall, this is a good race. I think the complaints people have about crowds or traffic are pretty much true for almost any race so … I’ve seen a LOT worse than AFC Half in that regard. I will do this one again.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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